Development of a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle Prototype Utilizing Rattan as External Vehicle Body

AUTHOR/S: Michelle M. Soledad, Renyl B. Barroca, Josef Rene L. Villanueva, Mark Anthony R. Rotor


KEYWORDS: Fuel-efficient vehicle, Gasoline engine prototype, Rattan, Shell Eco-Marathon


              Several innovative designs of fuel-efficient prototype vehicles have been tested since the Shell Eco-Marathon (SEM) competition has started. However, no study has considered the effects of utilizing an indigenous material like rattan, known for its strength and durability, as an external body to its overall fuel efficiency and safety. The present study designed, developed, and investigated the performance of a fuel-efficient and environmentally-friendly vehicle prototype employing electronic fuel injection (EFI) system. It includes the selection of the appropriate technology and materials based on the theoretical input, with primary emphasis on energy efficiency and safety. In the design stage, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation through Solidworks was employed. To streamline the project, it was broken down into four major modules, namely the engine, chassis and frame, transmission and drivetrain, and the electronics/electrical systems. Most of the fabrication and assembly works of the prototype were done in the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory of the Ateneo de Davao University. Works that require specialized skills like engine and EFI calibration were carried out in automotive shops in the Davao City. Series of test drives, modification, and optimization were done to attain the desired design parameters. On-site testing and evaluation were carried out by competing the vehicle against prototypes from other Asian countries to determine who goes the farthest distance at the least amount of fuel consumed. It is driven by a lightweight 35-cc Robin Subaru EHO 35, 4-stroke gasoline engine that has a power to weight ratio of 0.57 hp/kg. The pressurized air-system was designed and fabricated made of a repurposed translucent 2-liter polyethylene terephthalate (PET) soda bottle that can withstand a pressure of up to 70 psi capable to atomize and spray fuel into the throttle body. The prototype passed the technical and safety parameters set by the SEM guidelines. It was found out that at a maximum distance of 12 km track travelled, the actual recorded mileage was 97.2 km/L. This official result gave the team second place in the Philippines and tenth in Asia on the Gasoline Prototype Category. This shows that a fuel-efficient prototype has been successfully developed.  

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